An antioxidant drug, silibinin, modulates steroid secretion in human pathological adrenocortical cells

K. Racz, J. Feher, G. Csomos, I. Varga, R. Kiss, E. Glaz

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Because human adrenocortical cells from different adrenal disorders exhibit pathologically altered corticosteroid synthesis, and free radical mechanisms may induce pathological changes in the activities of corticosteroid biosynthetic enzymes (cytochrome P-450), we examined the effect of an antioxidant, silibinin, on basal and ACTH-stimulated secretion of several corticosteroids in isolated adrenal cells from an aldosterone-productin gadenoma, atrophied adrenal tissues surrounding the adenoma, and hyperplastic adrenals from Cushing's syndrome. In the presence of a high concentration (100 μmol/l) of silibinin, variably diminished secretion of basal aldosterone, corticosterone, cortisol, 18-OH-corticosterone and 11-deoxycorticosterone was found. In contrast, the addition of 0.01 μmol silibinin/l, which failed to produce a clear effect on basal corticosteroid secretion, resulted in a potentiation of ACTH-stimulated secretion of several corticosteroids in the adenomatous and hyperplastic adrenocortical cells. These results suggest that the dose-dependent dual effect of silibinin on corticosteroid secretion may be attributed to corresponding changes in the activities of cytochrome P-450 enzymes, and that stimulation of ACTH-induced corticosteroidogenesis by silibinin is presumably due to the antioxidant property of the drug.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-345
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Endocrinology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1990


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology

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